Overdue Rates

It is the ratepayer’s responsibility to ensure that the full amount of rates are paid as they fall due. 

Penalties

To avoid penalties ensure that you pay your rates by the due date. 

If you do not pay your rates instalment by the due date, we will add a rates penalty of 10% of the amount of the instalment which is outstanding.  We will also charge a further 10% penalty at the end of the rating year (30 June) to the total balance outstanding.  You will receive a penalty notice for each penalty applied to your account.

You may be eligible or penalty remission if you have a good payment history, pay the rates outstanding and sign up to pay your rates by direct debit. 

Penalties will not be charged where an approved payment arrangement has been entered into or where a direct debit authority is in place.

Payment Arrangements

WDC has a variety of payment arrangement options available to assist you in paying off your rates arrears over time.

Under an approved arrangement, you make payments by direct debit with a payment frequency that suits you and allows you time to pay off your rates arrears without being charged penalties.

Entering into a formal payment arrangement also means that no further action will be taken to collect the overdue rates.  If you have arrears we strongly encourage you to make contact us to discuss your account and we can work through a suitable payment arrangement for your situation.

Recovery of Unpaid Rates

WDC has an obligation to follow up on outstanding rates.  We invest time and effort into the collection of rates arrears because it is considered fair to the majority of other property owners who do pay their rates on time. 

WDC has a range of methods available under the Local Government (Rating) Act 2002 to recover unpaid rates, this includes the use of rating sales when necessary.

Recovery from Mortgagee

If you do not pay your rates and you have a mortgage on the property, we are able to recover the unpaid rates from your mortgagee (such as your bank) and formally demand payment from them.  The formal demand is made three months after we have advised the bank of the unpaid rates and not before 1 November in the following financial year in which rates were first assessed.

Debt Collection Agency

If your rates are unpaid at 30 June and you have not entered into an agreed payment arrangement, your account may be forwarded to WDC’s Debt Collection Agency for collection. 

Consideration of a ratepayers circumstances will be undertaken on a case by case basis.

Once your account has been loaded with our debt collection agency, Debt Management Central will make contact with you requesting payment to clear the rates owing and to avoid further action being taken. 

Rating Sales

If rates still remain unpaid, legal action may then be taken on the account. This may include filing a notice of proceeding and statement of claim through the court to commence the rating sale process. This recovery option is only pursued after all other attempts for payment have been unsuccessful.

Sections 67 – 76 of the Local Government Rating Act (2002) prescribes the process that WDC must follow for rating sales.

Abandoned Land

Abandoned land is land for which rates have not been paid to WDC for three years or more and the ratepayer is:

a) Unknown; or
b) Is deceased and has no personal representative; or
c) Has given notice to Council that he or she intends to abandon or has abandoned the land.

 

When land is identified as potentially abandoned we will give public notice that we intend to have the land declared abandoned one month after the date of the notice.

One month after the public notice, we may apply to the nearest District Court for an order that declares the land to be abandoned and authorises the Council to sell or lease the land.